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nineveh Summary and Overview

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nineveh in Easton's Bible Dictionary

First mentioned in Gen. 10:11, which is rendered in the Revised Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city, the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36; Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19, etc.). Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in gospel history (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32). This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient cities. About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them. "After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to Asia Minor and Egypt, it vanished like a dream" (Nah. 2:6-11). Its end was strange, sudden, tragic. It was God's doing, his judgement on Assyria's pride (Isa. 10:5-19). Forty years ago our knowledge of the great Assyrian empire and of its magnificent capital was almost wholly a blank. Vague memories had indeed survived of its power and greatness, but very little was definitely known about it. Other cities which had perished, as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, had left ruins to mark their sites and tell of their former greatness; but of this city, imperial Nineveh, not a single vestige seemed to remain, and the very place on which it had stood was only matter of conjecture. In fulfilment of prophecy, God made "an utter end of the place." It became a "desolation." In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, B.C. 400, it had become a thing of the past; and when Xenophon the historian passed the place in the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," the very memory of its name had been lost. It was buried out of sight, and no one knew its grave. It is never again to rise from its ruins. At length, after being lost for more than two thousand years, the city was disentombed. A little more than forty years ago the French consul at Mosul began to search the vast mounds that lay along the opposite bank of the river. The Arabs whom he employed in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the ruins of a building at the mound of Khorsabad, which, on further exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of Sargon, one of the Assyrian kings. They found their way into its extensive courts and chambers, and brought forth form its hidded depths many wonderful sculptures and other relics of those ancient times. The work of exploration has been carried on almost continuously by M. Botta, Sir Henry Layard, George Smith, and others, in the mounds of Nebi-Yunus, Nimrud, Koyunjik, and Khorsabad, and a vast treasury of specimens of old Assyrian art has been exhumed. Palace after palace has been discovered, with their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace, the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture, and the magnificence of their monarchs. The streets of the city have been explored, the inscriptions on the bricks and tablets and sculptured figures have been read, and now the secrets of their history have been brought to light. One of the most remarkable of recent discoveries is that of the library of King Assur-bani-pal, or, as the Greek historians call him, Sardanapalos, the grandson of Sennacherib (q.v.). (See ASNAPPER T0000347.) This library consists of about ten thousand flat bricks or tablets, all written over with Assyrian characters. They contain a record of the history, the laws, and the religion of Assyria, of the greatest value. These strange clay leaves found in the royal library form the most valuable of all the treasuries of the literature of the old world. The library contains also old Accadian documents, which are the oldest extant documents in the world, dating as far back as probably about the time of Abraham. (See SARGON T0003227.) "The Assyrian royalty is, perhaps, the most luxurious of our century [reign of Assur-bani-pal...Its victories and conquests, uninterrupted for one hundred years, have enriched it with the spoil of twenty peoples. Sargon has taken what remained to the Hittites; Sennacherib overcame Chaldea, and the treasures of Babylon were transferred to his coffers; Esarhaddon and Assur-bani-pal himself have pillaged Egypt and her great cities, Sais, Memphis, and Thebes of the hundred gates...Now foreign merchants flock into Nineveh, bringing with them the most valuable productions from all countries, gold and perfume from South Arabia and the Chaldean Sea, Egyptian linen and glass-work, carved enamels, goldsmiths' work, tin, silver, Phoenician purple; cedar wood from Lebanon, unassailable by worms; furs and iron from Asia Minor and Armenia" (Ancient Egypt and Assyria, by G. Maspero, page 271). The bas-reliefs, alabaster slabs, and sculptured monuments found in these recovered palaces serve in a remarkable manner to confirm the Old Testament history of the kings of Israel. The appearance of the ruins shows that the destruction of the city was due not only to the assailing foe but also to the flood and the fire, thus confirming the ancient prophecies concerning it. "The recent excavations," says Rawlinson, "have shown that fire was a great instrument in the destruction of the Nineveh palaces. Calcined alabaster, charred wood, and charcoal, colossal statues split through with heat, are met with in parts of the Nineveh mounds, and attest the veracity of prophecy." Nineveh in its glory was (Jonah 3:4) an "exceeding great city of three days' journey", i.e., probably in circuit. This would give a circumference of about 60 miles. At the four corners of an irregular quadrangle are the ruins of Kouyunjik, Nimrud, Karamless and Khorsabad. These four great masses of ruins, with the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as composing the whole ruins of Nineveh.

nineveh in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(abode of Ninus), the capital of the ancient kingdom and empire of Assyria. The name appears to be compounded from that of an Assyrian deity "Nin," corresponding, it is conjectured, with the Greek Hercules, and occurring in the names of several Assyrian kings, as in "Ninus," the mythic founder, according to Greek tradition of the city. Nineveh is situated on the eastern bank of the river Tigris, 50 miles from its mouth and 250 miles north of Babylon. It is first mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with the primitive dispersement and migrations of the human race. Asshur, or according to the marginal reading, which is generally preferred, Nimrod is there described, #Ge 10:11| as extending his kingdom from the land of Shinar or Babylonia, in the south, to Assyria in the north and founding four cities, of which the most famous was Nineveh. Hence Assyria was subsequently known to the Jews as "the land of Nimrod," cf. #Mic 5:6| and was believed to have been first peopled by a colony from Babylon. The kingdom of Assyria and of the Assyrians is referred to in the Old Testament as connected with the Jews at a very early period, as in #Nu 24:22,24| and Psal 83:8 but after the notice of the foundation of Nineveh in Genesis no further mention is made of the city until the time of the book of Jonah, or the eighth century B.C. In this book no mention is made of Assyria or the Assyrians, the king to whom the prophet was sent being termed the "king of Nineveh," and his subjects "the people of Nineveh." Assyria is first called a kingdom in the time of Menahem, about B.C. 770. Nahum (? B.C. 645) directs his prophecies against Nineveh; only once against the king of Assyria. ch. #Na 3:18| In #2Ki 19:36| and Isai 37:37 the city is first distinctly mentioned as the residence of the monarch. Sennacherib was slain there when worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god. Zephaniah, about B.C. 630, couples the capital and the kingdom together, #Zep 2:13| and this is the last mention of Nineveh as an existing city. The destruction of Nineveh occurred B.C. 606. The city was then laid waste, its monuments destroyed and its inhabitants scattered or carried away into captivity. It never rose again from its ruins. This total disappearance of Nineveh is fully confirmed by the records of profane history. The political history of Nineveh is that of Assyria, of which a sketch has already been given. [ASSYRIA] Previous to recent excavations and researches, the ruins which occupied the presumed site of Nineveh seemed to consist of mere shapeless heaps or mounds of earth and rubbish. Unlike the vast masses of brick masonry which mark the site of Babylon, they showed externally no signs of artificial construction, except perhaps here and there the traces of a rude wall of sun-dried bricks. Some of these mounds were of enormous dimensions, looking in the distance rather like natural elevations than the work of men's hands. They differ greatly in form, size and height. Some are mere conical heaps, varying from 50 to 150 feet high; others have a broad flat summit, and very precipitous cliff-like sites furrowed by deep ravines worn by the winter rains. The principal ruins are-- (1) the group immediately opposite Mosul, including the great mounds of Kouyunjik and Nebbi Yunus; (2) that near the junction of the Tigris and Zab comprising the mounds of Nimroud and Athur; (3) Khorsabad, about ten miles to the east of the former river; (4) Shereef Khan, about 5 1/2 miles to the north Kouyunjik; and (5) Selamiyah, three miles to the north of Nimroud. Discoveries. --The first traveller who carefully examined the supposed site of Nineveh was Mr. Rich formerly political agent for the East India Company at Bagdad; but his investigations were almost entirely confined to Kouyunjik and the surrounding mounds of which he made a survey in 1820. In 1843 M. Botta, the French consul at Mosul, fully explored the ruins. M. Botta's discoveries at Khorsabad were followed by those of Mr. Layard at Nimroud and Kouyunjik, made between the years 1846 and 1850. (Since then very many and important discoveries have been made at Nineveh, more especially those by George Smith, of the British Museum. He has discovered not only the buildings, but the remains of fin ancient library written on stone tablets. These leaves or tablets were from an inch to 1 foot square, made of terra-cotta clay, on which when soft the inscriptions were written; the tablets were then hardened and placed upon the walls of the library rooms, so as to cover the walls. This royal library contained over 10,000 tablets. It was begun by Shalmaneser B.C. 860; his successors added to it, and Sardanapalus (B.C. 673) almost doubled it. Stories or subjects were begun on tablets, and continued on tablets of the same size sometimes to the number of one hundred. Some of the most interesting of these give accounts of the creation and of the deluge and all agree with or confirm the Bible. --ED.) Description of remains. --The Assyrian edifices were so nearly alike in general plan, construction an decoration that one description will suffice for all, They were built upon artificial mounds or platforms, varying in height, but generally from 30 to 50 feet above the level of the surrounding country, and solidly constructed of regular layers of sun-dried bricks, as at Nimroud, or consisting merely of earth and rubbish heaped up, as at Kouyunjik. This platform was probably faced with stone masonry, remains probable which were discovered at Nimroud, and broad flights of steps or inclined ways led up to its summit. Although only the general plan of the ground-floor can now be traced, it is evident that the palaces had several stories built of wood and sun-dried bricks, which, when the building was deserted and allowed to fall to decay, gradually buried the lower chambers with their ruins, and protected the sculptured slabs from the effects of the weather. The depth of soil and rubbish above the alabaster slabs varied from a few inches to about 20 feet. It is to this accumulation of rubbish above them that the bas-reliefs owe their extraordinary preservation. The portions of the edifices still remaining consist of halls, chambers and galleries, opening for the most part into large uncovered courts. The wall above the wainscoting of alabaster was plastered, and painted with figures and ornaments. The sculptured, with the exception of the human headed lions and bulls, were for the most part in low relief, The colossal figures usually represent the king, his attendants and the gods; the smaller sculptures, which either cover the whole face of the slab or are divided into two compartments by bands of inscriptions, represent battles sieges, the chase single combats with wild beasts, religious ceremonies, etc., etc. All refer to public or national events; the hunting-scenes evidently recording the prowess and personal valor of the king as the head of the people-- "the mighty hunter before the Lord." The sculptures appear to have been painted, remains of color having been found on most of them. Thus decorated without and within, the Assyrian palaces must have displayed a barbaric magnificence, not, however, devoid of a certain grandeur and beauty which probably no ancient or modern edifice has exceeded. These great edifices, the depositories of the national records, appear to have been at the same time the abode of the king and the temple of the gods. Prophecies relating to Nineveh, and illustrations of the Old Testament. These are exclusively contained in the books of Nahum and Zephaniah. Nahum threatens the entire destruction of the city, so that it shall not rise again from its ruins. The city was to be partly destroyed by fire. #Na 3:13,16| The gateway in the northern wall of the Kouyunjik enclosure had been destroyed by fire as well as the palaces. The population was to be surprised when unprepared: "while they are drunk as drunkards they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry " #Na 1:10| Diodorus states that the last and fatal assault was made when they were overcome with wine. The captivity of the inhabitants and their removal to distant provinces are predicted. #Na 3:18| The fullest and the most vivid and poetical picture of Nineveh's ruined and deserted condition is that given by Zephaniah, who probably lived to see its fall. #Zep 2:13-15| Site of the city. --much diversity of opinion exists as to the identification of the ruins which may be properly included within the site of ancient Nineveh. According to Sir H. Rawlinson and those who concur in his interpretation of the cuneiform characters, each group of mounds already mentioned represents a separate and distinct city. On the other hand it has been conjectured, with much probability, that these groups of mounds are not ruins of separate cities, but of fortified royal residences, each combining palaces, temples, propylaea, gardens and parks, and having its peculiar name; and that they all formed part of one great city built and added to at different periods, sad consisting of distinct quarters scattered over a very large and frequently very distant one from the other. Thus the city would be, as Layard says, in the form of a parallelogram 18 to 20 miles long by 12 to 14 wide; or, as Diodorus Siculus says, 55 miles in circumference. Writing and language. --The ruins of Nineveh have furnished a vast collection of inscriptions partly carved on marble or stone slabs and partly impressed upon bricks anti upon clay cylinders, or sixsided and eight-sided prisms, barrels and tablets, which, used for the purpose when still moist, were afterward baked in a furnace or kilo. Comp. #Eze 4:4| The character employed was the arrow-headed or cuneiform --so called from each letter being formed by marks or elements resembling an arrow-head or a wedge. These inscribed bricks are of the greatest value in restoring the royal dynasties. The most important inscription hitherto discovered in connection with biblical history is that upon a pair of colossal human-headed bulls from Kouyunjik, now in the British Museum, containing the records of Sennacherib, and describing, among other events, his wars with Hezekiah. It is accompanied by a series of bas-reliefs believed to represent the siege and capture of Lachish. A list of nineteen or twenty kings can already be compiled, and the annals of the greater number of them will probably be restored to the lost history of one of the most powerful empires of the ancient world. and of one which appears to have exercised perhaps greater influence than any other upon the subsequent condition and development of civilized man. The people of Nineveh spoke a Shemitic dialect, connected with the Hebrew and with the so called Chaldee of the books of Daniel and Ezra. This agrees with the testimony of the Old Testament.

nineveh in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

NIN'EVEH (perhaps dwelling of Nin), the capital and greatest city of Assyria. Situation. - The city was founded by Asshur, Gen 10:11, and was situated on the eastern bank of the river Tigris, opposite the modern town of Mosul. It was about 250 miles in a direct line north of the rival city of Babylon, and not far from 550 miles north-west of the Persian Gulf. Extent. - Assyrian scholars are not agreed in respect to the size of this ancient city. Some, as Layard, regard it as covering a large parallelogram, whose sides were each from 18 to 20 miles long, and the ends 12 to 14 miles wide. This view would include the ruins now known as Kouyunjik, Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Keremles. Diodorus Siculus makes the circumference of the city 55 miles, including pastures and pleasure-grounds. See article Assyria, p. 82. This view of the great extent of the city is, on the other hand, sharply disputed by Rawlinson, who thinks it highly improbable that this ancient city should have had an area about ten times that of London. He would reject it on two grounds, the one historical and the other topographical. He maintains that the ruins of Khorsabad, Keremles, Nimrud, and Kouyunjik bear on their bricks distinct local titles, and that these titles are found attaching to distant cities in the historical inscriptions. According to his view, Nimrud would be identified with Calah, and Khorsabad with Dur-sargina, or "the city of Sargon." He further claims that Assyrian writers do not consider these places to be parts of Nineveh, but distinct and separate cities; that Calah was for a long time the capital, while Nineveh was a provincial town; that Dur-sargina was built by Sargon - not at Nineveh, but near Nineveh; and that Scripture similarly distinguishes Calah as a place separate from Nineveh, and so far from it that there was room for a great city between them. See Gen 10:12. He also suggests that a smaller city in extent would answer the requirements of the description in the book of Jonah, which makes it a city of "three days' journey." Jon 3:3. He would limit its extent, therefore, to the ruins immediately opposite Mosul, including two principal mounds, known as Nebi-Yunus and Kouyunjik. The latter mound, which lies about half a mile north-west of the former, is the larger of the two. In shape it is an irregular oval, the sides, sloping at a steep angle, furrowed with numerous ravines, worn out by the rains of thirty centuries. The greatest height of the mound is about 95 feet, and it is estimated to cover an area of 100 acres. The other mound, Nebi-Yunus, is triangular in shape, loftier in height, with more precipitous sides than the other mound, and covers an area of about 40 acres. The reputed tomb of Jonah is on the western side of the mound, while the eastern portion forms a burial-ground for Mohammedans. Nergal's Emblem, the Man-Lion. From Fairbairn. History. - As already stated, Nineveh was founded by Asshur, or, as the marginal reading of Gen 10:11 states, Nimrod. When Nineveh became the capital of Assyria is not definitely known, but it is generally believed it was during the reign of Sennacherib. The prophecies of the books of Jonah and Nahum are chiefly directed against this city. The latter prophet indicates the mode of its capture. Nah 1:8; Am 2:6, Deut 2:8; Nah 3:18. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria during the height of the grandeur of that empire, and in the time of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Assurbanipal. It was besieged for two years by the combined forces of the Medes and Babylonians, was captured, and finally destroyed b.c. 606. Ruins. -According to George Smith, Nineveh is now represented by the mounds of Kouyunjik or Telarmush, Nebi-Yunus, and some surrounding remains. The circuit of the walls, including these ruins, measures about 8 miles. The palace-mounds are on the side next to the river Tigris. Excavations have been made by M. Botta, Layard, Hormuzd Rassam, Loftus, and George Smith. They have brought to light, among others, the following noted buildings: (1) Three ruined temples, built and restored by many kings in different ages; (2) the palace of Shalmaneser, as improved by subsequent rulers; (3) a palace of another ruler, restored by Sennacherib and Esarhaddon: (4) a palace of Tiglath-pileser II.; (5) a temple of Nebo:(6j the south-west palace of Sennacherib; (7) the north-west palace of the same ruler; (8) the city walls built by the latter king and restored by Assurbanipal. For further accounts see Assyria and George Smith's Assyrian Discoveries (N.Y., 1875).

nineveh in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

frontASSYRIA.) Nimrod builded Nineveh (Genesis 10:11); Herodotus (i. 7) makes Ninus founder of Nineveh. and grandson of Belus founder of Babylon; which implies that it was from Babylon, as Scripture says, that Nineveh's founder came. Nin is the Assyrian Hercules. Their mythology also makes Ninus son of Nimrod. Jonah is the next Scripture after Genesis 10 that mentions Nineveh. (See JONAH.) Sennacherib after his host's destruction "went and dwelt at Nineveh" (2 Kings 19:36). Jonah (Jonah 3:3) describes it as an "exceeding great city of three days' journey" round (i.e. 60 miles, at 20 miles per day) with 120,000 children "who knew not their right hand from their left" (Jonah 4:11), which would make a population in all of 600,000 or even one million. Diodorus Siculus (ii. 3), agreeing with Jonah's "three days' journey," makes the circumference 55 miles, pastures and pleasure grounds being included within, from whence Jonah appositely (Jonah 4:11) mentions "much cattle." G. Smith thinks that the ridges enclosing Nebi Yunus and Koyunjik (the mounds called "tels" opposite Mosul) were only the walls of inner Nineveh, the city itself extending beyond to the mound Yarenijah. The parallelogram in Assyria covered with remains has Khorsabad N.E.; Koyunjik and Nebi Yunus (Nineveh in the narrow sense) near the Tigris N.W.; Nimrud and Athur between the Tigris and Zab, N.W.; and Karamles at a distance inward from the Zab S.E. From Koyunjik to Nimrud is 18 miles; from Khorsabad to Karamles 18; from Koyunjik to Khorsabad 13 or 14; from Nimrud to Karamles 14. The length was greater than the breadth; so Jonah 3:4 "entered into the city a day's journey." The longer sides were 150 furlongs each, the shorter 90 furlongs, the whole circuit 480 or 460 miles. Babylon had a circuit of only 385 miles (Clitarchus in Diod. ii. 7, Strabo xvi. 737). The walls were 100 ft. high, with 1,500 towers, and broad enough for three chariots abreast. Shereef Khan is the northern extremity of the collection of mounds on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and is five and a half miles N. of Koyunjik. There is also an enclosure, 5,000 yards in circuit, once enclosed by a moat at Selamivah three miles N. of Nimrud. Nimrud in inscriptions is called Kalkhu or Calah in Genesis 10:11; Khorsabad is called Sargina from Sargon. At Kileh Sherghat is the presumed original capital," Asshur," 60 miles S. of Mosul, on the right or western bank of the Tigris. Sennacherib first made Nineveh the capital. Nineveh was at first only a fort to keep the Babylonian conquests around. It subsequently, with Rehoboth, Ir, Calah, and Resen, formed one great city, "Nineveh" in the larger sense. Thothmes III of Egypt is mentioned in inscriptions as capturing Nineveh. Phraortes the Mede perished in attempting to do so (Herodotus i. 102). Cyaxares his successor, after at first raising the siege owing to a Scythic invasion (Herodotus i. 103, 106) 625 B.C., finally succeeded in concert with the Babylonian Nabopolassar, 606 B.C., Saracus the last king, Esarhaddon's grandson, set fire to the palace and perished in the flames, as Ctesias states, and as the marks of fire on the walls still confirm. So Nahum 3:13; Nahum 3:15, "fire shall devour thy bars." Charred wood, calcined alabaster, and heat splintered figures abound. Nahum (Nahum 2) and Zephaniah (Zephaniah 2:13-15) foretold its doom; and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 31) shortly after attests the completeness of its overthrow, as a warning of the fatal issue of pride, Isaiah 10:7-14; Diodorus (ii. 27) says there was a prophecy that Nineveh should not fall until the river became its enemy. The immediate cause of capture was the city walls destruction by a sudden rise in the river. So Nahum (Nahum 1:8; Nahum 2:6; Nahum 2:8) foretold "with an over running flood He will make an utter end of the place;" "the gates of the rivers shall be opened and the palace shall be dissolved," namely, by the inundation; "Nineveh is of old like a pool of water (though of old defended by water around), yet (its inhabitants) shall flee." There was a floodgate at the N.W. angle of the city, which was swept away; and the water pouring into the city "dissolved" the palace foundation platform, of sundried bricks. Nineveh then totally disappears from history; it never rose again. Nahum (Nahum 1:10; Nahum 3:11) accords with Diodorus Siculus that the final assault was made during a drinking bout of king and courtiers: "while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry ... Thou shalt be drunken," etc. The treasures accumulated by many kings were rifled, as Nahum foretells; "take ye the spoil of silver ... gold, for there is none end of the store;" the people were "scattered upon the mountains" (Nahum 3:18). He calls it "the city of bloods," truly (Nahum 3:1); the wall carvings represent the king in the act of putting out his captives' eyes, and dragging others by a hook through the lips and a cord. Other cities have revived, but Nahum foretells "there is no healing of thy bruise" (Nahum 3:19). Lucian of Samosara near the Euphrates asserts none in his day even knew where Nineveh stood. Its former luxury is embodied in the statue of Sardanapalus as a dancer, which he directed (Plutarch says) to be erected after his death, with the motto "eat, drink, enjoy lust ... the rest is nothing!" The language of its inscriptions is Semitic, for the main population was a colony of Asshur, son of Shem; and besides the prevalent Semitic a Turanian dialect has been found on tablets at Koyunjik, derived from its original Cushite founder Nimrod of Babylon and his band. At Nimrud the oldest palaces are in the N.W. grainer, the most recent at the S.E. The table of Karnak in Egypt (1490 B.C.) connects Niniu (Nineveh) with Naharaima or Naharaim or Mesopotamia. Sir H. Rawlinson published 1862 an Assyrian canon from the monuments. The first kings reigned when the early Chaldee empire had its seat in lower Mesopotamia. Asshur-bil-nisis, Buzur Ashur, and Asshur Vatila from 1653 to 1550 B.C., when Purnapuriyas and Durri-galazu were the last of the early Chaldaean monarchy. Then Bel Sumill Kapi founds a dynasty after a chasm of two centuries. "Bellush, Pudil, and Ivalush" are inscribed on bricks at Kileh Sherghat, 1350-1270 B.C. Shalmaneser I, son of Ivalush I, is mentioned on a genealogical slab as founder of Nimrud. Tiglath-i-nin his son inscribes himself" conqueror of Babylon"; Sargon finally conquered it. Tiglath-inin's successor Ivalush II (1250 B.C.) enlarged the empire and closes the dynasty. By a revolution Nin pala Zira ascends the throne, "the king of the commencement" as the Tiglath Pileser cylinder calls him. Then Asshurdahil, Mutaggil Nebo, Asshur-ris-ilim (conqueror of a Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon), Tiglath Pileser I (subdued Meshech), Asshur-belkala; a blank of two centuries follows when David's and Solomon's extensive dominion has place. Asshur-iddin-akhi begins the next dynasty (950-930 B.C.). Asshur-danin-il and Iralush III follow; then Tiglath-i-nin; Asshur-idanni-pal next after ten victorious campaigns built a palace at Calah, 360 ft. long by 300 broad, with man lions at the gateways, and by a canal brought the Zab waters to Calah; he was "lord from the upper Tigris to Lebanon and the great sea." His son Shalmaneser II took tribute from Tyre and Sidon and fought Benhadad and Hazael. A picture represents him receiving from Jewish captives tribute of Jehu king of Israel, gold, pearl, and oil. He built the central palace of Nimrud, opened by Layard. The black marble obelisk (in the British Museum) records his exploits and Jehu's name. Then Shamas-Iva, Iralush IV and his wife Semiramis, a Babylonian princess, Shalmaneser III, Asshur-danin-il II, Asshur-lush. Then Tiglath Pileser II, probably Pul, usurps the throne by revolution, for he does not mention his father as others do, 744 B.C. Under him "Menahem" appears in inscriptions, and "tribute from the house of Omri" i.e. Samaria (2 Kings 15:19; 2 Kings 15:29). Ahaz enlisted him as ally against Samaria and Damascus; Tiglath Pileser conquered them and received tribute from Jahu-khazi or Ahaz. An inscription in the British Museum records Rezin's death (Rawlinson's Monarchies, 2:398,399). Tiglath Pileser built a new palace at Nimrud. Then Shalmaneser IV (not in the canon) (2 Kings 17:3-4) assailed Samaria, upon Hoshea's leaguing with So of Egypt, and withholding tribute. In a chamber at Koyunjik was found among other seals now in British Museum the seal of So or Sabacho and that of Sennacherib affixed to a treaty between them, of which the parchment has perished. Sargon ("king de facto") usurped the throne and took Samaria (he says in inscriptions) in his first year; he built the palace at Khorsabad. Sennacherib his son succeeded 704 B.C. and reigned 24 years. He built the palace at the S.W. corner of Koyunjik, covering 100 acres almost, excavated by Layard. (See SENNACHERIB.) Of it 60 courts, halls (some 150 ft. square), and passages (one 200 ft. long) have been discovered. The human headed lions and bulls at its many portals are some 20 ft. high. Esarhaddon succeeded, as he styles himself "king of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Meroe, and Ethiopia;" or Asnapper; he imprisoned Manasseh. (See ASNAPPER; MANASSEH.) He built a temple at the S.W. corner of Nimrud, and a palace at Nebi Yunus. Asshurbani-pal succeeded, a hunter and warrior; his library of clay tablets, religious, legal, historical, and scientific, is in British Museum. He built a palace at Koyunjik, near Sennacherib's. His son, the last king, Asshuremid-ilin or Asshur-izzir-pal (Saracus or Sardanapalus), built the S.E. edifice at Nimrud. The palace walls were from five to fifteen feet thick, erected on an artificial platform 30 to 50 ft. above the surrounding level, and paneled with slabs of coarse alabaster sculptured and inscribed. The plaster above the alabaster wainscoting was ornamented with figures; the pavement was of alabaster or flat kiln-burnt bricks resting on bitumen and fine sand. The Nimrud grand hall is only 35 ft. broad (though 160 ft. long), to admit of roofing with the short beams to be had. The ceilings were gaily colored. The portals were guarded by colossal human headed bulls; thence was an ascent to a higher platform, and on the top a gateway, sometimes 90 ft. wide, guarded also by winged bulls; inside was the great door, opening into a sculpture adorned passage; then the inner court, then the state apartments. There may have been an upper story of sun-dried bricks and wood, for there are no stone or marble columns or burnt brick remains. The large halls may have been roofless, a ledge projecting round the four sides and supporting an awning as shelter against rain and sun. However Zephaniah 2:14 mentions "the cedar work," cedars from Lebanon may have reached from wall to wall with openings for light. The chambers were built round the central hall. In Nahum 2:3 translated "the chariots (shall be furnished) with fire flashing scythes," literally, "with the fire of scythes" or "iron weapons." No traces of such scythe-armed chariots are found in Assyria; either then it applies to the besiegers, or "the chariots shall come with the glitter of steel weapons." The "red shield" (Nahum 2:3) accords with the red painting of the shields and dresses in the sculptures. The king, with beardless eunuch behind holding an umbrella and the winged symbol of Deity above, appears in various carvings; he was despotic. Kitchen operations, husbandry and irrigation implements are represented also. Religion. The man bull and man lion answer to Nin and Nergal, the gods of war and the chase. Nisroch the eagle-headed god and Dagon the fishheaded god often appear in the sculptures. The sacred tree answers to Asheerah, "the grove" (2 Kings 21:7). The chief gods were Asshur, Bel, Beltis or Myletta, Sin the moon, Shamash (Hebrew shemesh) the sun, Vul or Iva the thunder wielder, Nin, etc. "Witchcrafts" and "whoredoms" in connection with Nineveh's worship are denounced by Nahum 3:4. The immense palaces, the depositories of the national records, were at once the gods' temple and the king's abode, for he was the religious head of the nation and the favorite of the gods. Language and writing. Clay cylinders pierced through so as to turn round and present their sides to the reader, bricks, and slabs are the materials inscribed on. The wedge (cuneus from whence "cuneiform") in various forms and directions, upright, horizontal, and diagonal, is the main element of the 250 distinct alphabetical characters. This mode of writing prevailed for 2000 years B.C. in Assyria, Babylonia, and eastern Persia. The alphabet is syllabic. Determinatives are prefixed to some words, as ? -prefixed marks the word as a man's name; ?? -marks the plural; ?? -marks the dual. It is related to Hebrew, thus, u "and" is the Hebrew ve; ki is in both "if"; anaku or Hebrew 'anoki "I"; 'atta' in both is "thou"; 'abu or'ab (Hebrew), "father"; nahar in both is a "river." Feminine nouns end in -it or -at; Hebrew end with -ith. Sh is the shortened relative pronoun "who, which," as in later Hebrew; mah in both asks a question. The verb as in Hebrew is conjugated by pronominal suffixes. The roots are biliteral, the Hebrew both biliteral and triliteral. Mit, "to die"; Hebrew muth. Sib, "to dwell"; Hebrew yashab. Tiglath means "adoration." Pal, "son," the Aramaic bar; sat "king"; ris, Hebrew rosh, "head." The northwestern palace of Nineveh has the longest inscription; it records concerning Sardanapalus II. Sennacherib's inscription concerning Hezekiah, on two man-headed bulls from Koyunjik, is the most interesting. Bas-reliefs of the siege of Lachish accompany it. (See LACHISH.) By a tentative process recurring proper names were first deciphered by Grotefend, Rawlinson, Hincks, Fox Talbot, Oppert, etc., as in Darius' inscription at Behistun. Parallel parts of the same inscription in snorter language (as the hieroglyphics and Greek on the Rosetta stone enabled Champollion to discover the former) verified the results, and duplicate phrases brought, out the meaning of words. Tombs. Chaldaea is as full of tombs as Assyria is void of them. Probably Chaldaea was the burial place of the Assyrian kings; Arrian (Exped. Alex. 7:22) states that their tombs were in the marshes S. of Babylon. Art, Commerce. Egyptian art is characterized by calm repose, Assyrian art by energy and action. Egyptian architecture is derived from a stone prototype, Assyrian from a wooden one, in agreement with the physical features of the respective countries. Solomon's temple and palace, with grand hall and chambers, paneled with slabs sculptured with trees, the upper part of the walls painted in various colors, the winged cherubim carved all round, the flowers and pomegranates, correspond to the Nineveh palaces in a great measure. Silk, blue clothes, and embroidered work were traded in by Nineveh's merchants (Ezekiel 27:23-24; Nahum 3:16). The Chaldaean Nestorians in the Kurdistan mountains and the villages near Mosul are the sole representatives of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians.